Oh my, has it really been over two weeks since my last blog? I guess that in addition to being busy with household things, I’ve just been at a loss of things to write about. I still am, really. I have some pictures and a few cute stories to share, but I feel that after a long absence, I owe you more than that. If you have a question or topic that you’d like me to write about, please leave a comment or click over to the “Contact Me” button to the right. I could use the inspiration!
In the meantime, I came across a quote yesterday that I’d like to share. After writing about Responding to Unkind Comments last month, I received a number of heartbreaking emails and comments from mothers who have been the recipients of unkind comments about their families. A few of you said that the most hurtful comments came from members of your extended families. My friends, this is for you. :-)
The following quote was written by a grandmother struggling with the news that her daughter was expecting her fifth baby. This woman gives some excellent advice about taking our cares to God and overcoming our fears, but equally helpful (and encouraging) is knowing who this grandmother is. Go ahead and read the quote, and then I’ll reveal who the author is.
Too Many Children?
When I learned that my daughter Valerie was expecting number five, my insides tied themselves in knots.
Val and Walt were both very peaceful about it, willing to receive this child as they had received the others–as a gift from the Lord, remembering His words, “Whoever welcomes this child in my name welcomes me” (Luke 9:48, NIV). But my imagination ran to the future and its seeming impossibilities–”Poor dear Val. She has her hands more than full. What will she do with five?” Before she was married Valerie had told me that she hoped the Lord would give her six. I had smiled to myself, thinking she would probably revise that number after the first three or four. Practical considerations rose like thunderclouds in my mind. Money. Another room to be built onto the house. Homeschooling (Valerie was teaching two already!) How would the new child receive the attention he needed? Etc., etc.
Then I began to look at the advantages. I was one of six children myself, and loved growing up in a big family. Children learn early what it means to help and to share, to take responsibility and to make sacrifices, to give place to others, to cooperate and deny themselves. Why all this turmoil in my soul? Well, because I loved my child! She was tired! Her hands were full! Maybe later, maybe when the others were old enough to help more, maybe… O Lord!
I tried to talk to God about it. Breakfast time came, we ate, washed dishes, school began in the children’s schoolroom, and I went to my room, my heart churning. What does one do?
I write this because troubled young women have come to me not understanding their mothers’ reactions to the news of another baby. Was it resentment? Did they not love the grandchildren they had? Why would they not want more? Was it nothing but a meddle-some yen to run their children’s lives? Was it a revelation of a worse attitude–an unwillingness to let God be God?
It was this last question that I knew I must wrestle with as I knelt in the bedroom. Most things that trouble us deeply come down to that. I had to bring each of my wrong responses definitely and specifically to God, lay them honestly before Him (He already knew exactly what I was thinking), confess my pride and silliness, and then, just as definitely accept His sovereign and loving will for Valerie, for her family, and for me as the granny. Only God knew how many countless others, even in future generations, He had in mind in bringing this particular child into the Shepard family. He was granting this family the privilege of offering sacrifices for Him, participating in His grand designs. YES, LORD. Your will is my conscious choice. Nothing more. Nothing less. Nothing else.
Even though the feelings don’t evaporate at once, they have been surrendered, and the Lord knows what to do with them. Mine had to be surrendered over and over again, but He took them, and over the next few days He transformed them. And when the news of Number Six was broken to me two years later, I was able to say Thank You, Lord, and to add that tiny unknown one to my prayer list.
Evangeline Mary, born November 9, 1988, was lovingly welcomed by all.
Beautiful, isn’t it?
It was written by none other than Elisabeth Elliot, a wonderful, Titus 2 lady who has inspired countless women over the course of many years. Elisabeth’s first husband, Jim Elliot, was one of five missionaries to South America martyred in 1956, when young Valerie was just ten months old. After Jim died, Elisabeth brought three-year-old Valerie and went to live among the people who killed her husband, serving them as a missionary for two years. Interestingly, Valerie and her husband Walter are now parents of eight children, and at fifty-six, Valerie is a grandmother.
Dear mothers, who have been hurt when your family responds less than enthusiastically towards news of a new life inside you, I hope this encourages you. Elisabeth Elliot is a woman who has trusted God more than most, and even she was not immune to struggling with trusting God to care of her child and grandchildren. I love her transparency, I love her advice, and I love the outcome. Perhaps these words will help you to empathize with your own extended families.